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Vintage Perfumes For Sale

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Nine Flags & My Islands Colognes


The Nine Flags men's shaving cologne collection came out in 1965, it was still being sold well into the early 1970s. It was distributed by the Colton company of Boston, Massachusetts and was marketed by Gillette in the United Kingdom. The bottles are also marked "Essence Imported Blended in USA". I have also found reference to the Nine Flags men's soap set advertisement from 1972. By 1974, the Colton Company ceased production of the Nine Flags fragrances.

Each bottle held 2fl oz of cologne and was ball shaped and had a long neck covered with a brushed aluminum screw cap. The name of the cologne is on the bottle part of the cap and on the label on the base.

This ingenious collection was full of international flair and each cologne was named after its own country and the essential oils that make up the scent were said to be imported from that country, and then the scent was compounded in the USA. Each scent was tinted with a different color which look striking when packaged together. I have also seen these in atomizer bottles, but more commonly in the splash type bottles.

The collection was available in sets of six, four, three, two and one.

Click HERE to find Nine Flags Cologne

Even commercials of the day featured such scenes as ethnic sexy women talking about which country has the best after shave lotion. Other commercials featured a sexy Italian couple, German couple and Swedish couple. One such commercial showed a gift box that featured colognes from nine countries - three humorous vignettes of sample countries all include the men applying their colognes and their lady friend's reactions.

For instance, one commercial features a sensuous woman in Italy embracing a man saying "Marcello, I love you","...kiss me, you fool," for England, a fraulein in Germany who declares unemotionally "Hans! I love you!" while he clicks his heels and says "Of course you do, you could not help yourself!", and a Swedish couple in a sauna as the woman says "Oh, Sven" - as the blond in a towel jumps the handsome Swede.

These colognes are still very popular amongst men today and command very high prices on eBay. Prices range from $75-$350 for a single bottle.

The following countries/scents make up the Nine Flags Collection:
  • Hong Kong - Patcham (an exotic masculine oriental scent with notes of citrus, lavender, jasmine, ylang ylang, vetiver, olibanum, tonka bean, resins, sandalwood, patchouli, vanilla, myrrh, benzoin, amber)
  • Brazil - Aromatic Tabac (a warm, rich, spicy tobacco scent with notes of citron, bay, laurel, pimiento, nutmeg, coffee, patchouli, resins, and vetiver)
  • England - Royal Saddle  (a leather scent with notes of citrus, lavender, violet, rose geranium, carnation, Indian sandalwood, fresh oakmoss, leather and musk)
  • France - Panache (an aromatic fougere scent with notes of citrus, lavender, clary sage, fern, ylang ylang, cedar, geranium, vetiver, sandalwood, patchouli, myrrh, musk and ambergris)
  • Sweden - Clear Spruce (a brisk, cool, minty woodsy scent with notes of citrus, herbs, verbena, lavender, mint, ylang ylang, carnation,  cloves, juniper, oakmoss, cedar, pine and vetiver)
  • Ireland - Green Moss (a masculine chypre scent with notes of lime, orange leaf, lavender, bay leaf, clove, violet leaves, incense, oakmoss and musk)
  • Germany - Live Oak (a woodsy scent with notes of lime, oakmoss, and black forest pine)
  • Spain - Manzanilla (a lightly spiced herbal scent with notes of orange blossom, cinnamon, chamomile, sandalwood, leather, musk, patchouli, castoreum, and amber)
  • Italy - Dry Citrus (an eau de cologne type scent with notes of bergamot, orange, lemon, origanum, sage, spices, cognac)
  • Monaco - Sea Amber (a warm, and spicy ambergris scent)
  • Lichtenstein - Wild Cedar (a fresh, deep green woodsy scent)
  • Luxembourg - Meadow Grass ( a fresh, green scent)
  • America - Mountain Green (a green scent with citrus and lime)


The My Islands colognes came out in 1967 as the women's counterpart to Nine Flags, and were also manufactured by Colton, distributed in the UK by Gilette. There were six different colognes named after famous islands.

The bottles held 2.5 fl oz and were squat and ribbed, and their bases came up like a dome into the bottle. These bottles could then be stacked one atop the other. The caps were the same brushed aluminum but had rounded tops so that they would fit the bases of one another. They were also available in an atomizer bottle. The bottles were designed by Massimo Vignelli.

These are very very rare compared to the Nine Flags colognes. I do not think they sold very well and were perhaps pulled from the market not long after they were launched. They were still being sold in 1975. These bottles are so few and far between that I have only seen 3 in my life.

  • Majorca (a lush, tropical, pungent floral scent with notes of rose, almond blossom, jasmine and precious green aromatics and woods)
  • Corfu (a sultry oriental floral scent with notes of hyacinth, rose, muguet and ylang with smooth woodsy notes)
  • Barbados (a forest cool, rich green floral scent with notes of fruits, neroli, tuberose and jasmine)
  • Stromboli (a warm, velvety floral scent with notes of exotic smoky woods, musk and vibrant, flowers)
  • Skye (a light green meadow scent with notes of aldehydes, fresh cut grass, violets and soft heather)
  • Moorea (a warm, dry floral scent with notes of flowers, spices and incense)

The Pittsburgh Courier, 1967:
"MY ISLANDS COLOGNE. A package so new only a master like Massimo Vignelli could have designed it, with its unique six tiered array of etched glass frosted bottles, and only that exotic islands of Corfu, Moorea, Skye, Barbados, Majorca and Stromboli could have compounded these unique essences chosen for women by men. 
 As Spanish as Spain the lush, tropical, pungent florals of MAJORCA, one of six exotic My Islands scents photographed with the others against a background painting by HAHN VIDAL. Considered one of the foremost flower painters in the world, the artist has captured the craggy rocks, the deep red and creamy white roses, and the almond blossoms of this sun - kissed island in a gorgeous message of color.  
Inspired by colognes, whose fragrance literally hints of their origins, Hahn Vidal has created paintings for all six scents. "My Islands" Cologne Goes Native Elegantly "My Islands". The mystique of six of the most interesting islands in the world has been captured by The Colton Company in six exquisite scents called "MY ISLANDS." Each fragrance is so precisely native it is literally a liquid massage from the island of its name. Incredibly, one can identify the islands they are named for by sniffing just a whisper of these six unique cologne.". The essences were actually compounded on and imported from the exotic islands whose names they bear.  
There's the sultry voice of Corfu, the smoky message of Stromboli, the beckoning incense of Moorea, the misty charm of Skye, the lush tropics of Majorca and the rich florals of Barbados. ; ' The etched glass frosted bottles, packaged in a hexagonal box of dramatic silver and black, stack in an unusual tiered array. An eye catcher and a space saver, the entire visual concept is the creation of Massimo Vignelli, internationally known designer and winner of such awards as the Grand Prix, the Gold Medal at the Triennale of Milano. and the Gold Compass Award for Product Design.  
The six scents are tinted with the silvery blues and greens of the island waters. CORFU ... is a sultry, exotic scent blending the oriental florals of hyacinth, rose, muguet and ylang with smooth woodsy . notes. Not quite like anything else your nose has known.  
MAJORCA . . . Lush and tropical, the pungent florals of natural rose and jasmine are linked in this cologne with precious green aromatics. A heady scent, designed to make "him" spin.  
STROMBOLI . . . Warm, musky tones of exotic woods erupting into a vibrant, velvety floral. Young and ripe at the same time, it belongs to the day or to arv evening mood.  
SKYE ... As green as fresh - cut grass, as soft as the violets and heather of the misty Isle of Skye. This scent is as new as morning.  
MOOREA . . . A sophisticated 4 floral with just a ' ' whisper of incense, hiding a million Secrets - , in its warm spicy fragrance. Here is a dry, lingering bouquet that could be you.  
BARBADOS . . . There's a hint of delicate fruits in this dark green cologne whose rich florals of neroli, tuberose and jasmine meet and mingle to produce a ripe milieu.  
Each of My Islands Colognes is individually packaged and is available in either liquid or an atomizer bottle. HAHN VIDAL, who is considered one of the best flower painters in the world, has created paintings to depict the flowers of the six islands. The wild roses, bougainvillaea, poinciana and other flora she has wooed to her canvas seem more alive than life."


Popular Science, Dec 1967:
“Hot shaving lather out of a cold can? Borrowing rocket technology from Cape Kennedy, this new thermal shaving lather packs soap, propellant, a reductant (material that oxidizes to create heat) and an oxidizer in the same can. The oxidizer (hydrogen peroxide) is in a special plastic bottle inside the aerosol. When the can is turned over and the nozzle pressed, a double valve mixes the oxidizer with the reductant and soap in the right amounts. They react chemically, heating the lather to a warm, comfortable 150 degrees and softening the beard for shaving. Called “Nine Flags Thermal Shaving Foam”, the lather was developed by The Colton Company. $5 per can”

1 comment:

  1. In the commercial with the German couple... the gentleman actually says "Of course you do Fraulein, you could not help yourself." and it is said with a very heavy German accent, it's one of my absolute favorite commercials because of it's absurdity.


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